I-Construct, a £2.3 million centre of excellence for construction innovation has opened in Braintree
The two-storey building features a technology suite, exhibition space, conference facilities and informal meeting areas where innovative ideas can be shared.
The Haven Gateway Partnership will run a business support programme at the hub which will help over 350 businesses, launch 150 new products and services, and create up to 130 jobs, across Essex, Kent and East Sussex.
Energy efficient building
The state-of-the-art building has been built to extremely high environmental standards using innovative construction techniques and modern materials, meaning that it will be highly energy efficient.
Cllr Tom Cunningham, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Braintree District Council, said: “Our investment into this flagship centre shows how we are playing our part in growing businesses, supporting the local economy and creating jobs.
“This hub will be a great place to celebrate the innovations taking place in the construction industry and not only that, it will open up opportunities for residents and businesses in our district and beyond.
“I’ve been a supporter of this project coming to Braintree from the start and I’m thrilled that it’s come to fruition.”
Duncan Clark, Managing Director at Beardwell Construction Limited, said: “The completion of this modern, innovative hub highlights our experience and technical expertise in delivering a building which meets world-leading sustainability and environmental standards.
“This high quality, energy-efficient facility will meet the needs of businesses across the region now and in the future and we are proud to have been involved from concept to final delivery.”
Build back better
George Kieffer, Chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said: “I-Construct provides a platform and a network to help us build back better, using modern methods of construction and materials particularly by smaller and medium-sized businesses which do not have the resources of the national builders.
“We are fortunate to be supported by the expertise of the Building Research Establishment and the long experience of Colchester Institute in construction skills and training.
“I-Construct will play a major role in making construction businesses more competitive and is an excellent example of co-operation between government, the private sector and further education.”